AmericanHistory: Exam #1
Europeancolonization, on the America, started at around 1946, even thoughthere was evidence of earlier seizure efforts in most parts of thecontinent. Europeans are believed to have started arriving in theAmerica during the eleventh century with the aim of making enormousriches. At first, the merchants and explorers wanted to find a routeacross the Atlantic to reach the market in Asia. Due tomiscalculations, Christopher Columbus and the other Europeans found adifferent world to explore: South and North America (Marks 31). Therewere massive demographic catastrophes whenever the local indigenousAmericans made contact with the Europeans. Communities such as theTaino, Inca, and the indigenous population in Mexico were severelydepopulated and wiped out by the transmission of European diseases.The wealthiest empires in the Americas were found and plundered bythe Spanish within very few years. Several years later, Spain tookover the massive silver mines in Peru and Mexico and became theleading supplier of the mineral across the world. The first globaltrade started but African slaves were used in the farms as the cropswere sold in the global market. According to Gets (90) 80 percent ofthe African slaves who were brought to the Americas were taken tosugar plantations in the Caribbean and Brazil. Slave trade shatteredthe human capital, wealth, and stability of most countries in theAfrican continent (96). Slave trade became connected to nearly allthe continents of the world thus becoming a key aspect of the globaltrade. The involvement of English colonies in the slave ad sugartrade made it known as the “triangular trade.”
Theconquest of the Americas explains the rise of the economic andimperial power of the Europeans. The new global system greatlyenriched the Portuguese and the Spanish, and later on the French andthe English. Although this can be perceived to be a positivephenomenon, from a moral perspective, Europeans took advantage of therich natural resources, the available market around the world, andcheap labor at the expense of other nations (Marks 79). It was a formof exploitation since slavery and piracy were involved. The newfoundor rather stolen wealth and rich resource of the Americas served asthe ground for economic power and ascendance of Europe in theninetieth century.
Inthe fifteenth and sixteenth century, the world faced a choice betweentolerance and hostility among various religions. Although the ChineseEmpire enjoyed ethnic and religious diversity, there were levels ofintolerance whereby the authorities attacked Buddhism as Muslims andChristians clashed during Crusades and the Christian re-conquest ofSpain. During this time there existed non-European empires that werevery powerful and wealthy. For instance, in the Americas there wasthe Aztecs, in South America was the Inca empire, and West Africa hadthe Mali empire (Marks 55 & Getz 63). During this time, empiresin Mexico, China, and the Middle East were far more urbanized thanthe European empires. Living in urbanized areas was quite unusualbecause about ninety percent of people across the world were livingin the countryside.The Ottoman Empire comprised of majority of thepopulation centers of thirty-eight nations and continued expandingits imperial rule at the expense of Europe. The thirty eightcountries composed of almost the whole of the Middle East, most partof Southeastern Europe, and Egypt (Marks 58). The Ottoman Sultansuccessfully united most of the ethnically diverse Islamic communitythat supported him. He claimed that religious authority of caliphmade him an heir to the Islamic Prophet Mohammed. In 1453, theEuropeans were defeated by the Ottoman Empire, which made use ofenormous cannons and the latest military technology of the time.Constantinople was the last stronghold for the Christian religion andthe defeat of Europeans made them to seek a sea route to the thrivingAsian markets (Walsham86).
Christianswere the most affected by the various instances of intolerance. Forcenturies, religion in Europe had been restricted to territories andstates were committed to securing uniformity through coercivemeasures. This was some form of persecution since people wereexecuted for blasphemy or heresy in European countries, such asEngland. There was suppression of heretical sects such asWaldensians, Cathars, and Lollards while Catholic Christians andOrthodox Christians lived side-by-side (Walsham87).In the Roman Empire, over three hundred Roman Catholics weresentenced to death by the government of England between 1535 and1681. Christians were victims of Muslim persecution by the OttomanEmpire as well as the Roman Empire. In early modern England, peoplewere executed for their religious views.
Getz,Trevor R. "Mechanisms of Slave Acquisition and Exchange in LateEighteenth Century Anomabu: Reconsidering a Cross-Section of theAtlantic Slave Trade." Africaneconomic history31 (2003): 75-89. Print.
Marks,Robert B. Theorigins of the modern world: A global and ecological narrative fromthe fifteenth to the twenty-first century.Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006. Print.
Walsham,Alexandra. CharitableHatred: tolerance and intolerance in England, 1500-1700. Manchester University Press, 2006. Print.